Sunday, March 25, 2007

Finished Sweater At Last

I finally finished the the sweater I started earlier this month. The body took a week, the sleeves over 2 weeks. It fits well. I was all set to get a picture of me wearing the sweater, but the camera battery died and needs recharging. I did get a couple of pics without me!

I used Valley Yarns, Amherst in Eggplant. It's 100% merino and is super soft, but warm. I used size 11 needles to get gauge, and a pattern from Saturday Sweaters by Doreen Marquart.

Here's the sleeve join. I used a slip stitch crochet, and I really like the way it turned out.

From Spring to Winter ---- In 12 Hours

One moment it's 59°, and sunny. Spring is definitely here.

The next moment:

Don't you just LOVE New England springs!

Actually, the daffodils aren't from the garden. They're from the American Cancer Society. I always buy several bunches at school, and my church also sells them. We purchase them for the altar flowers on "DAFFODIL SUNDAY" -- in memory/honor of our loved ones who have battled cancer. I've got 2 bunches to pick up at church later this morning - once I shovel the 3 inches of white delight!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Is this sweater cursed?

I don't believe it! I finished the sleeves on my sweater finally. I sewed one sleeve on. The seam looks perfect!!

Guess what ??????

I sewed it on upside down! The underarm is attached to the shoulder seam. ARRGGHH!!!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Back to Winter Wonderland

Winter was very slow to get here, and now doesn't want to leave. We received over a foot of snow in the last 24 hours. It started just after noon yesterday and my trek home from school at 3 pm was adventurous. I am so happy I have a wonderful 4 wheel drive Subaru that gets me up the hills and over our country roads safely. Of course, I had to creep the 2 miles down my road at 20 mph, gripping the steering wheel very tightly. Ever since I slid off my road one February morning, I've been a bit tense driving on slippery roads.

I spent most of the day grading papers. I finally got through all the reading projects! My kids will be glad to get them back on Monday. They've been anxiously awaiting feedback. Most of them did well. It wasn't particularly difficult - but you had to pay attention to details. Those that didn't . . . .well, let's just say their grades reflect their attention to detail. That seems to be the case for everything. I also graded 38 spelling assignments. One part of the assignment required capital letters since the answers were titles to books. Over half of the 2 classes lost 15 points because they didn't capitalize. Not only were the directions right there in the book, but I specifically called that particular detail to their attention when the work was assigned. They're always in a rush to be finished, and don't take the time to check directions or to proofread their work.

I ventured to the grocery store this afternoon for a break from paperwork. I really dislike grocery shopping but my husband loves it. Unfortunately he couldn't go this week, so I had to brave the crowds. And there were crowds! What really drives me nuts though is the local store's practice of deciding to stock shelves at the peak of customer presence. Between dodging others' shopping carts and the stockboys and their pallets of cardboard, and new product, I felt like I was in the middle of rush hour. It took me over an hour to negotiate the terrain and spend $102.93. And of course, the teenage baggers were much more interested in discussing their social plans than making sure that the cans of soup were under the grapes instead of on top of them! GRR!

I finished my afternoon chores by booking hotel rooms for Easter weekend. My brother is retiring from the Navy on April 6th and we're flying to Norfolk, VA for his retirement bash. It will be a mini family reunion since one of our sisters and her family will also be able to make it as well as one of our cousins. We're looking forward to that.

I have 3 more sets of papers to grade and some planning left to do. We're studying ancient Greece now in social studies, and have just finished a novel in reading. I decided to create a short Greek mythology unit to go along with social studies, so I have to pull that together. I've done folktales in the past, so I will adapt some of my previous resources for this unit. I'm psyched because for the first time ever I teach ALL the kids in my pod reading and social studies. This makes it so much easier to integrate curricula. I will be able to use double blocks of time for this unit, so it should be very effective.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Lost in Sleeveland

My tunic sweater is STILL not done! The sleeves continue to throw up obstacles to completion.
After re-knitting sleeve #1 on Sunday, I blithely sewed it to the body of the sweater. I tried the sweater on and was extremely pleased to discover that it fit well and I'd gotten the sleeve length exactly right. I picked up my needles to begin sleeve #2, and started knitting away at the cuff. I reached the pattern part, and suddenly had a downright-rude-slap-me-silly moment. My perfect sleeve #1 was knit using the wrong pattern! Instead of a 2 row pattern (row 1: knit 4, purl 1; row 2 knit round), I'd done just row 1 for the entire sleeve! After much self-loathing and language shown in comic strip speech bubbles as xx's/!!!? *** and such, I decided to go ahead and knit sleeve 2 correctly, and then rip out sleeve 1 and start again. So that's where I am, hoping to finish sleeve #2 tonight, and then get sleeve #1 re-knit this weekend. Fortunately I had attached sleeve #1 using a single crochet seaming from The Knitters' Companion so it should be easy to remove. We'll see. Of course, since Monday it's been spring and way too warm to wear a merino wool sweater, but . . . . .

Sunday, March 11, 2007

"The Sun is A-Shinin' to Welcome the Day . . . .

And it's Heigh-ho off to the Fair!"

My mom used to wake us up singing this little song to us. Haven't thought of it for many years but today the sunshine is brilliant, and it's supposed to be in the 50°'s - a regular heat wave. The roof is a-drippin' as the snow melts and there are puddles everywhere. Can spring be far behind?

I would normally be heading off to church this morning, but with the time change and the number of tasks still to accomplish before 5 am tomorrow, I've decided to play hooky. I need to get at least the barest minimum of housework accomplished (unpile the table so that we can put our plates on it!), grade a couple of stacks of papers, and plan out my social studies for the week. I also need to get some birthday cards addressed, and some gifts wrapped, and I need to finish laundry. That's what I NEED to do. I also WANT to finish the sleeves on the sweater I'm knitting. I started a tunic sweater in the round on March 1st. The entire body is finished - all I need to do is knit 1 complete sleeve and 4 inches of the other sleeve and then attach and block. For some reason, the first sleeve has been a bear. I can't figure out why either since it's being knit in the round and it's a knit 4 purl 1 pattern. I had about 10 inches knit when I realized that I'd done the increases wrong. I had forgotten to knit into the back of the stitch when I did a make 1 increase and that's why I had this rather lacy eyelet effect going up the underside of my sleeve. It looked terrible! So off to the frog pond and start again. That was Thursday and Friday night's work. Last night I was going along nicely when I realized I'd messed up the pattern, again due to the increases, and now I had a zig zag effect rather than a fanning spread as the sleeve increased. Rip-it, rip-it, rip -it. I started again, and now am happy. I have about 4 inches left on this sleeve and then the other one. I had hoped to finish the sweater this weekend, despite the detours, but then ended up with a ton of school work to do.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Cold Cold Day

Today I had bus duty outside . . . I usually don't mind this assignment but today was brutal. It was -1° and the wind was blowing. I had on a wool sweater under my long wool coat, and the wind just went right through. Fortunately it's a short stint of time, and it's only once a week. In a few more weeks, it should be warmer! My room was cold though most of the day. Usually my classroom is more than toasty (actually it's usually much too warm) but the wind was blowing towards my windows. It was good to get home tonight and turn up the heat!

I'm reading a challenging but fascinating book right now for my Lenten practice. It's called The Last Week, by Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan. It's day-by-day discussion of Jesus's last week as portrayed in Mark's Gospel. A couple of us at church are reading it and hope to find a time to get together to share our reflections and questions. I've read several of Borg's books before and never fail to be enlightened, nourished, and challenged. This book will not disappoint!

Monday, March 5, 2007

losing myself

It's been about 5 weeks now that I've been working hard at losing weight. As of today, I've lost 18 lbs! I've been counting calories, and measuring portions, and that's what's working for me. I've been keeping up my exercise too. I did sit down with a dietician a month ago and reviewed my eating habits. I didn't really need her to tell me what to eat --- I KNOW what I should and shouldn't eat, it's just that I don't do what I should be doing. I've basically cut back to between 1200-1500 calories a day, probably closer to 1200 most days. I've found that I'm more successful with fewer choices too. So I have 3 breakfasts that I rotate: 1 slice of whole grain toast (100-110 calories) with 1 tbs of peanut butter (90 calories) and 1/2 cup nonfat cottage cheese (70 calories). I recently added 2 tsp of soluble fiber to the cottage cheese (like Benefiber or Fibersure) for another 30 calories. Breakfast 2 is one serving of a high fiber hot cereal (current favorite is Hodgson's Mills Multigrain cereal with soy and flaxseed) and 2 tbs of my one indulgence, 1/2 and 1/2. That's a total of 190 calories. Breakfast 3 is 2 soft boiled eggs with 1 slice of whole grain toast sprayed with I Can't Believe it's Not Butter. For lunch I eat lots of greens and cut up raw veggies, with a protein like a can of water packed tuna or 1/2 cup of black beans. I use the new spray dressings. For dinner, I eat sensibly --- a meat protein, more salad , veggies, and perhaps 1/2 cup brown rice or whole wheat noodles. I have some snacks and mini-meals --- an apple and 1/4 c almonds, usually, and a nonfat yogurt.

I am sticking with at least 2 4o minute sessions of aerobic exercise per week, and 2 3o minute strength training sessions at the local health club, and I try to fit in another aerobic exercise time as I can.

I was excited to be able to pull out some pants I haven't been able to wear since last winter and have them loose!

I am hoping to move that big weight over one notch in another couple of weeks and be on the lower rung of the balance. It is such hard work! I can do it when I want to, and I haven't wanted to since my mom died 2 years ago. I think this means I'm finally on the road to healing.